Technical Ben wrote:Um. Well, when you point at someone and say "you choose", we have a nice supposition that you believe a "you", or "person" exists and that they can "choose". Say, if I ask a person "do you like fish or chicken", I have supposed they have an ability to choose free from me. Else I'd not give them that choice, I'd tell them to like chicken or fish. If I believed in determinism I can say "you will choose chicken" or if I believed in randomness I'd say "random actions will choose chicken". So while it's fine to change your supposition, you would have to carry it through to the rest of your expressions and worldview. I'm not sure you'd welcome that, would you?
It might be a limit to our example, it's got limited data. But, as our example is limited, the assumption of free will fits. The person "chose freely to each chicken". We can suppose chemical or historical causes, but they are just suppositions. In absence of specific proofs and data, we are left with the assumption "nether determining or random", but "the system described is the system that chose". Or, "free will", a freely acting system of choice.
If we take your option and "throw free will out the window", neither of those questions get asked, and both people sit there not eating, being unable to "choose". "Free will" is just our way of expressing our belief that the ability to make a choice exists separate (thus free) from another system we are describing. Without it, such statements as "choice" make no sense in context.
If I program a computer with all inputs known, I don't then tell it to "choose to output 1 or 0", because I prepared it to output already. It makes no choice, it follows a determined action. If I ever ask it to "choose", I am supposing the ability to choose is not from me, but from it. It would be "free to choose" in this context from me. AFAIK it would not have "will", so it does not count as a person yet. But I'd not look to decide what will or people are, or if we can make robotic ones. That's not within my grasp of knowledge. Either way, if we programed them previously, asking for a choice is not a sensible thing.
So, we either ask people to choose, and presume free will or stop asking people and presume no ability to choose.
You can remove free will from your worldview, you however do have to remove the concept of choosing in all instances though AFIAK. We can't just gloss over the differences it would imply to the observations we make or we predict.
The whole point of the free will discussion is that we appear to behave as individuals and make our own choices, but upon closer inspection we seem to find that this doesn't seem to be logically possible. In other words, so much is going on behind the scenes of our 'choices' that is independent of us, that the whole idea of free choice seems to be an illusion. This means that words fail to fully capture what is occurring when we make a 'choice'. This is not surprising, as words (in natural languages at least) are fairly blunt instruments. They all refer to more than one thing and rarely allow for the level of precision that deductive logic requires. When we ask someone to make a choice, we are using the word in a slightly different way when we ponder whether their choice was determined, random, or 'other' (I can't see any other possibilities, but since you insist). You can simply decide that people should all stick to the intuitive meaning of 'choice', but that amounts to asking them not to consider the philosophical implications of causation. In your statements above, you seem to be simply refusing to acknowledge that what seems obviously true can sometimes be an illusion. 'Does free will exist' is not a practical question, it's a philosophical one, and the practical solution you suggest doesn't address it. Ignoring a question doesn't make it disappear.
But asking for a definition of choice that is compatible with determinism is ok, unless the definition of choice is also free will, not because it's wrong, but because we defined 2 contrary assumptions in our question. We live with contrary assumptions all the time, they are not problems, just shortcuts to answers.
Like, "explain to me how a deterministic universe can be random" is a wrong statement, as is "explain to me how a random universe is deterministic". By definition, assuming one or the other, rules out our second assumption from being possible. But we cannot conclude from this that either is impossible in a physical universe, because both random systems and determined systems are possible in this universe. So, if randomness or determinism also contradicts any other system, this does not rule out the possibility of that system existing or functioning or being described.
Likewise, it's not required that choice is a deterministic process. It's not required that it's random. It's just an assumption that there is a process we call "choice" just as determinism is an assumption there is a process we call "a model always producing the same output". We call randomness "a model producing a probabilistic output".
Perhaps we would then have choice or free will which would be "a model producing it's own output" or "a model producing an undefined output"? Would that work?
This discussion does not occur in a vacuum. We don't define two contrary assumptions, we make observations about the world which appear to be incompatible with each other. Free will seems to be incompatible with any known mechanism of causation. What we intuitively call 'free choice' seems to be nothing but an illusion. This doesn't necessarily mean we'll stop using the word any more than we stopped using Newtonian mechanics when Einstein and QM came along.
Defining free will as 'a model producing its own output' just pushes the question back to the definition of 'its own' unless the model is not causally connected to the rest of the universe, making it something we can never observe or interact with. Otherwise, this seems to be the same thing as defining free will as 'godhood'.
I'm afraid I don't know what 'a model producing an undefined output' means.
Edit again: grammar